Bill Watch: Next week in #okleg

This week we’re launching a new weekly update to our blog that previews some of the bills we’re watching in the Oklahoma Legislature over the next week. Throughout the week, we’ll continuing sharing advocacy alerts with ways that you can take action on key bills. Although there’s always potential for surprises in the legislative process, we hope this update will help you to be better prepared and informed about these key decisions being made for our state.

Budget and Taxes

While the attention of lawmakers and the public is focused on efforts to generate revenue to pay for a teacher pay raise and other funding priorities before the scheduled April 2nd walkout, it’s not clear which bills will ultimately serve as vehicles for plans that may emerge in the coming weeks. There seems to be growing support in both chambers for repealing the capital gains exemption; SB 1086 passed the Senate with strong bipartisan support last week and has now been advanced directly to the House Floor calendar. The House Appropriations and Budget committee has been assigned bills that would restore the refundable state earned income tax credit (SB 861) and expand authorized gaming activity under state-tribal compacts (SB 1195).

Although a bill to lower the supermajority needed to pass revenue bills from 75 percent to 60 percent failed in committee (SJR 52), two measures to tweak State Question 640 remain alive. HJR 1050 would lower the threshold to two-thirds (67 percent), while SJR 61 would lower the threshold to 60 percent but for sales tax increases only. Both bills have been assigned to the Rules committee in their respective opposite chambers.


In this final week for legislators to take action to avert a teacher walkout, education advocates will be rightfully focused on the tax and budget bills needed to fund schools and teachers. SB 133, which would increase the minimum teacher salary schedule by over $4,000 for all teachers, is scheduled for the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Finance next week, but the hard part will still be passing the revenues to pay for it. We are compiling resources and information to help you understand what’s happening with the teacher walkout here.

In the meantime, a few policy bills could be heard in education committees this week. HB 3081 requires Oklahoma’s state and local school boards to align policies on “restraint and seclusion” with the U.S. Department of Education. In Oklahoma this practice has gone unregulated, and advocates for kids with disabilities have raised concerns about seclusion being used disproportionately on special education students. HB 3081 has passed the House and is on the agenda of the Senate Education committee.

Health and Human Services

Unfortunately, bills that would jeopardize access to needed health care for low-income families continue to advance through the legislature. SB 1030, which would slash the income eligibility cap for parents to qualify for Medicaid, passed the Senate and has been assigned to the House Appropriations and Budget committee. Two bills that would cut parents from SoonerCare for failing to work a prescribed number of hours per month have also advanced: SB 1179 has been assigned to House Appropriations and Budget, and HB 2932 has been assigned to the Senate Health and Human Services committee.

On a positive note, HB 2758, which would create a needed respite program for caregivers of people with developmental disabilities, passed the House and has been assigned to the Senate Health and Human Services committee. The related funding bill, HB 2754, has been assigned to Senate Appropriations.

Criminal Justice

The Justice Reform Task Force proposals remain in conference committee despite an announced agreement among Governor Fallin, legislative leaders, and District Attorneys to move them toward final passage. Advocates are working behind the scenes to restore the bills — including HB 2286 (parole reform), SB 689 (evidence-based supervision), and SB 649 (habitual offender reform) — to their full impact. Another proposal we support — SB 1021, which would make public defenders more available to people to bond out of jail — has passed the Senate and awaits committee assignment in the House.

Economic Security

A handful of bills to reform the occupational licensing process are still moving, and we’re supporting three of them. HB 2771 would create an online database of all required licenses in the state, SB 1475 would create a commission to regularly review occupational licenses (something we don’t currently do), and HB 2894 would prohibit blanket bans of individuals with a criminal history in occupational licensing. All three bills are currently awaiting committee action – HB 2771 and HB 2894 have been assigned to Senate Business, Commerce, and Tourism and SB 1475 is awaiting action by House Appropriations & Budget.

Other bills we are supporting include HB 1530, which prohibits wage discrimination based on gender. HB 1530 has been assigned to Senate Business, Commerce, and Tourism. SB 1581 would create a paid family leave bank for state employees, and has been assigned to House Appropriations & Budget. SB 1572 requires regular reports on trends in payday lending and has been assigned to House Judiciary.


Gene Perry worked for OK Policy from 2011 to 2019. He is a native Oklahoman and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a B.A. in history and an M.A. in journalism.

One thought on “Bill Watch: Next week in #okleg

  1. thanks will be watching and listening . question ? how can they over ride the people ? SJR-61 ? when it was the people, that voted, to place this into law, to stop tax increases without the approval of the people , and it stops are legislators from taking this power away from the people , so how can they over ride the will of the people ?

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